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Check record when seeking consultant

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When it comes to choosing a financial consultant, the American Society of Chartered Life Underwriters & Chartered Financial Consultants offers the following tips to make sure you end up working with a qualified professional.

1. Begin your selection process with a thorough investigation. Ask questions before entering into any financial agreement.

Qualified financial consultants are proud of their educational background, skills and accomplishments and will welcome the opportunity to fully discuss your questions.

2. Request and then check references, both from current clients and other professionals, such as accountants and attorneys, with whom the financial consultant has worked.

3. Review a sample completed plan to help you determine if the financial consultant offers those services that meet your financial goals.

4. Avoid consultants who promote only their own products as the solution to all financial problems or who promote financial product sales without completing all elements of the planning process.

The disclosure for planning and ongoing services should be fully explained to you in advance, preferably in writing.

5. To find out if a consultant has ever been fined, reprimanded or suspended, contact the Missouri Secretary of State's Office, the National Association of Securities Dealers or the Securities and Exchange Commission, at 800-732-0330.

6. When seeking financial guidance, shop around and talk to more than one financial consultant.

Select a service that is compatible with your immediate needs, as well as your projected growth.

A financial consultant should provide you with a feeling of trust that your personal finances will be handled in a professional, confidential manner.

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